You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Loneliness’ category.

Jung felt that the pursuit of wholeness was essential for redressing the split between the conscious and the unconscious.  Although the differentiation … is a natural part of psychiatric development, a total break between the two realms can cause psychic problems.

Curtis D. Smith, Ph.D., in Jung’s Quest for Wholeness

+ + +

Dr. Smith, a Jungian psychologist whose focus is human development and the history of religion, goes on to quote Carl Jung, M.D., who said the “more powerful and independent consciousness becomes, and with it conscious will” the less well and whole we are. In this state, psychic problems follow.

Why do I bring this up?

Well it is quite simple.  I hear from people quite often that they see and encounter people whose actions seem disordered, selfish, troubled, and without concern for others, irrational.  Indeed, Jung is talking about this very issue – about people who are “unconscious” – cut off from their whole being.

Dr. Jung is talking about human wholeness – the unification of the whole human person – the person’s full human development (intellectual, social, emotional, interpersonal, spiritual, etc.) as the object of our creation and existence; and I am concerned that culture can either advance or impede this development.  Further (having studied the relationship between faith and exclusionary secular culture) I see that we produce an abundance of unhealthy, even disintegrated individuals, and that unnecessary chaos, conflict, suffering, division and isolation abound.  May I reference Harvey Weinstein and the legions of married female teachers engaged in sexual conduct with their underage students as “a for instance.”

Consistent with Jung, when man becomes the exclusive focus of man the individual self becomes all important and man’s reason is cultivated at the cost of the unconscious aspects of his being.  Said another way, when man is focused exclusively on man his psyche (soul) is forgotten and problems manifest.

Yes, in our secularized culture we have become one-dimensional, trapped in self and materiality but devoid of a metaphysical intelligence (and spiritual maturity) and hence fall short of the capacity for a full range of experience and human development.  Frankly, we are not well.  We are fragmented at best – lack the capacity for introspection, self-examination, intimacy, and the ability to receive others.  To the contrary, we objectify others and cannot fully comprehend the bizarre actions (even tragedies) that surround us.

Case in point: we are mystified by the actions of Las Vegas mass murderer Stephen Paddock.  His autopsy shows no brain damage to explain his rampage and the authorities can find no particular motive, personal social footprint or provocation for his actions.

Unable to see as other than diminished secularists, they ignore the Unibomber in explaining Mr. Paddock.  They do not recall the Unibomber’s rage arouse from his parents who demanded he forsake other people and things, from childhood on, in favor of constant study.  His parents made him a slave of his intellect.

Yes, in a single fit of rage as a teenager he screamed this to them: “You never let me have a friend!”

It is hard to imagine a more chilling indictment of one’s parents nor a more dreadful, socially starved existence.  He, like Paddock, was a greatly diminished person, one far from wholeness – asocial, isolated, alone.

The neglect of our God-given fullness is the cause of the serious disorder among the godless from top to bottom of the social strata.  We are devoted to self and self alone – and far less well for it.

If we continue in this way, our suffering and murderous chaos, abhorrent interpersonal behavior, group violence, corruption and cover-up, and our isolation one from another will continue us on a destructive, evil path.

When God is neglected, the soul cannot be well.  We prove this daily.

Shalom.

Advertisements

There was a time when people were not concerned about self.  It was a time of simply being.  (Emphasis added.)

Gerald May, M.D., in Simply Sane

+ + +

It is said by some that when Adam and Eve partake of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that this is the moment when consciousness is born, when man and woman see themselves as “self” – as living in a state of being “separate” and “apart” from God and one another.

That said, Dr. May in his book Simply Sane examines the evolution of the human being once he and she discovers the self and other.  

May sees this as a very significant turning point that posts a false state of being and creates very difficult tensions, and problems, for the human person.

In particular, May reminds us when we were less conscious of self we are more aware of being itself, and life and creation as we were but a part.  Says May, when we focus on self our awareness fades and thought clutters our mind.  This transition, I offer with May’s help, creates distance between one person and another, imposes particular burdens on a single person and makes intimate experience far more difficult for the distance consciousness of self fosters between one person and an other, or all others – and in relationship with the Divine. One might ask in this context, Can one know the “I Am” when one must be the I am?

Yes, in self comes estrangement.  In a way, consciousness of self makes another a potential threat, an enemy.  Perhaps this is why we seem to prefer that “God is dead” or forgotten in the present secular age.

I have come over the years to see the loss of intimacy as a major and very damaging issue in modern life.  My observation has me think about so many of the modern horrors and disordered behaviors and wonder if it is not the estrangement from our divine and whole being and the resultant loss of intimacy that gives rise to so many modern illnesses and murderous escapades.

I ask for instance: What explains the homicidal rage of ISIS?  What empowers the need for nation states, like Iran or North Korea, to fortify themselves against “others” as they do?  Why is a flawed ideology like Marxism so embraced by “educated” people who should know it’s ugly and brutal history?  Why is pornography so prevalent?  How can homosexuality can exist in a vowed religious community?  How can women justify the killing of an innocent, unborn child in the womb?  How can the Left justify their lying to secure political power at the expense of their dignity and honor?  How can once great nations, where freedom was secured and debate welcomed, become so divided, so at war with their citizens with whom they do not agree? How can obvious dangers be ignored and incidents be overlooked because they are at odds one’s distorted political view of what is “correct?”  How can people lie to themselves and live what is false and a lie itself?  Cover up and excuse horrible crimes?

Self.  Self more than other.  Thought replacing awareness.  The other as enemy. Estrangement. Loss of relationship.  Loss of intimacy. Distance from others. Distance from one significant other.  Sickness on display.  Sickness excused, justified.  Sickness.  Decay.  Decline.  Death.

Think about it.

Shalom.

Question: When can we prosecute Hillary for national security breaches, or at least get her psychiatric help?

Maggie Sullivan was married to Seamus for forty years, and a fine marriage it was.  Each could be themselves and as most women know in such a comfortable experience, Seamus was, in his natural state as a man, one who could playfully tease and joke affectionally with his beloved.

Well in the midst of their give and take one day, Maggie says to Seamus, after giggling at his gentle tomfoolery, “Seamus, I must have been a fool when I married you.”  To which Seamus replied, “Aye, but I was in love and never noticed.”

+ + +

Love and Truth.  Can there be love without truth?  Not likely.

When you think about it our Christian faith tells us as much.  We have a God of Love and a narrative that shares the Truth of being human and being created by a knowing and intentional God.

If a marriage relies on truth and love, does it not follow that a family and a society does as well?

In my life I know I was raised in a family where truth was told and love flowed freely.  This was, as a think about it, a live among faithful people, those who worshiped in their honesty and affection.  There was no censorship in that place. One said what we saw and experienced.  We dealt in truth and the search for, and experience of, it.  Love followed it in tandem.  Yes, I was raised in a secure environment within that family and among others in my community who lived quite the same way.  From truth and love, courage, optimism and community followed.  Life was lived and not avoided.

It is little wonder that I have friends with whom I share a life of 66 years of close friendship, of shared truth and indissoluble love.

As experience our culture today, especially the public culture, I see little taste for truth in media, little appetite for truth in politics.

I cite but two iterations.  One, the grotesque habit of having a government “spokesman” for the President, the State and Defense Department, etc. whose only distinguishing feature seems to be to avoid truth in favor of fiction, to disassemble and pronounce things a decent and sane person would or should know is, to say the lease, a shading of the truth.

The other citation is the extraordinary one-sided and repetitive narrowness of media reporters (televised and print).

On this latter group, I recall my very bright, truth-seeking Ph.D. son who said to me some years ago: “Dad, when I begin to read something in the newspapers and find a clear misstatement of fact or truth, I simply ignore the article and move on.”

He hardly gives the newspaper a glance today.  Neither does he eat rancid food. Same principle at play.

If there is no love without truth, we are destroying our access to the life Maggie and Seamus know?  I say, “Yes.”

I can tell you this if you avoid truth you lose intimacy, a life of ease and fellowship, the joys of man’s habitual unplanned follies and the laughter, humility, and wisdom they generously produce.

Be alert to what you hear.  Be discreet in your easy acceptance of it.  See the Truth, love is comes with it.

Shalom.

Blog Post for July 12, 2016

We are all lonely for something we do not know we are lonely for.  How else to explain the curious feeling that goes around feeling like you miss somebody we’ve never even met.

David Foster Wallace

+ + +

One could think of Wallace’s haunting words as in some ways the product of the disenchantment produced with the pivot away from God and sacramental consciousness in favor of the primacy of man and reason at the end of the Middle Ages.

With this – man, it can be said, began a lonely march away from peace and happiness and toward the heavy burden of self and self-importance in but one dimension: the mortal world unprotected by God or God’s mercy.

Ironically, man’s freedom to explore the natural world, in the oddest of ways, contributed to man’s reduction.  How so?

The capacity to examine the natural world held the likelihood that man might exalt himself, believe in his own divinity, power, importance – that he create an estrangement from his own nature and longings that would bring him not esteem so much as the inevitable specter of isolation and loneliness.  Yes, becoming full of a “buffered” self, man became empty – one who in time would feel lonely for “something” (God, an invisible reality, life beyond the mortal frame of reference, etc.), one does not even know he is lonely for.

The point is this: history moved from “the God hypothesis” to the “no God hypothesis.” The latter producing man so full of himself, so “stuffed to the gills” with himself that he was quite empty and unable to offer an explanation for things unexplainable.  He lost access to mystery and to the experience of the experience of man or the Divine, and to speak in a poetic voice of each. He lost the capacity for intimacy, for intimacy with another, knowledge of himself – man lost intimate contact with his true self.

Man in his freedom and dignity succeeded in maximizing himself reduced, while minimizing God. It follows that man sought in one form then another reliance not on God’s order for man, but man’s order for man.  Arise, the hollow and shallow political man!

What was once thought to be a divine and sacred order of existence became a secular, and the desacralized order of imperfect man seeking to govern imperfect man and growing sicker, more lost and lonely by the decade.

Today in the U.S. and the West we might know this calamity as the secular versus the Christian way of being.

With life without God we know “the curious feeling” of missing “someone we’ve even never met.”  Such is life of man without God.  We are, it seems, in the desert for forty days in the company of Satan.  Such is the tragic and injurious state we have “created” for ourselves.

Shalom.

Without faith man becomes sterile, hopeless, and afraid to the very core of his being.

Erich Fromm, in Man for Himself

+ + +

To say that religion can be separated from state is to say man can be divided from himself, for the human person is spiritual by nature, longs for good, for God, and truth, peace, beauty, friendship, and love.

Likewise to think of a state without religion is to think of chaos, crime and violence, the gulag and political “correctness,” hostility and distrust, the human reduced and unhappy, addictions and fetishes, isolation and suicide.

State without faith is fiction, with suffering, hopelessness, despair and depression.

Given that, what corrupts religious belief?  The dominance of exclusionary secularism in mass communication culture reduces man and converts him to the state and its ideology, to appearance, conformity, dependence, and the desire for power and control.  Yes, that corrupts religious belief.

So, too, is religious belief corrupted when the elites (even religious leaders) seek the favor of those who rule, abandon virtue and courage to be among the “accepted” and privileged ones.  Yes, to court Herod is to corrupt religious belief.

In our own time and circumstance, religious belief is corrupted by radical egalitarianism – the advancement of one’s own racial, gender and sexual desires above other people, ideas, institutions, above common virtue, morality, historical practices, accepted norms and established beliefs and above truth and God.

Indeed if one is to diffuse conflict in interfaith dialogue, one’s culture must not be devoid of faith, must not have driven faith from its center and its public square.

An interfaith dialogue demands that faith be present.  Likewise does our health and well-being.

But what is the cost to America and the West when faith is lost, or driven away?

Yes, as Fromm says we become sterile, and hopeless and afraid.  And I add: prone to conflict, and pride, and arrogance, to self-deception, hostility, division, dishonor, and loneliness, and sickness in mind and soul.

Just as one without faith cannot have union with others, a nation without faith cannot form allies; for without faith fidelity does not exist, common values erode, friendship and sacrifice wane, and common objective cannot be sustained.

Some months ago I listened to a former Israeli Defense Forces officer discuss the existential threat to Israel because terrorists had constructed elaborate tunnels into Israel from which they kidnapped and killed private citizens and members of the Israeli military.

This man wondered how it was that Americans could not understand this threat and understand the vulnerability that it posed.

His search for an answer from the large audience got no response, except from me and I said this: “You are encountering a language problem.”  He looked puzzled, and so I said: “Israelis still live informed by their faith.  Americans do not.”

My point is Fromm’s point.  Absent faith we live poorly, we are less evolved, less complete, less who we can be and have been.  Yes, further from self, and God.

Yes, we are not subject to religious conflict, but rather in conflict with religion. We are far poorer and at far greater risk for this.

Shalom.

“There is no one here who has an understanding of me in the full.  To have even one who had this understanding … would be to have support on every side.  It would be to have God.”

Franz Kafka (from his diary)

+ + +

What to say about being human, being an individual?  Well, to be a human being, and individual, is to be alone.  And then, what to do about being alone?

Being alone is part of the human event, its experience.  Yes, we are separate. We know this at levels that are undeniable, and soon enough in life.

The instinct is to be whole and complete in others.  That is the common regime. You see it in all the desperate efforts to latch on to another, and the fatal miscue that is so common and so transparent: the effort to latch on to someone so they might grow for you, develop psychologically, emotionally, socially, inter-personally.  And you see the lamest of all efforts to insert religion where growth must occur.

Friends, there are no religious shortcuts.  You must first grow and that means live the experience of living – feel its joys, take its risks, stumble along, endure its uncertainties, fall down, get up, be betrayed, deserted, lied to, defrauded, get mad, be angry, sin, fight back, succeed, fail – fall on your knees, contemplate, heal, gain wisdom and laugh all the more for all the folly – your foolishness and that of so many others.

Ah, but in this is the journey from the false self to the True Self, from ego to self, from confusion to clarity, from material to spiritual, from alone to oneness with God.

A word about those who fail to do the personal work but show up at Church and in your life – the lulus with endless prayer cards and no room in their life for others, or even themselves – the fakers, the hiders, the fearful ones – who speak the words while their actions betray their fraud. Oh, you see them in low and high places.  How and why?  Most people do not do the hard work of living. They prefer a “shortcut,” but there are none.

There is no artificial immortality, just the real thing.

And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

Gen 5:24

Folks its all East of Eden, and then (if you grow and absorb all the bumps and bruises that come with it) – you may know Oneness, you will be part of the Only Story that There Is.

The object here: oneness with God.  Hence, the sacred nature of Separation.

In the end we all seek understanding.  To understand and to be understood. Receiving and being received is our intimacy.  And it is intimacy that gives peace – no greater than with God.

Shalom.

Humans see what they want to see.

Richard Riordan, in The Lightening Thief

+ + +

The sooner you realize that you were born into the Tribe of Self-Deceivers, the sooner sanity sets in, and loneliness, too – the kind of loneliness that produces a depth of existence, a full life and true love, wisdom too, and courage and self-sufficiency – yes, freedom and understanding.

Fact is most people love self-deception.  It is so much easier than growth. It is yet so much more destructive of self and others.  Self-deception is denial – the virus of all maladies, and addictions, broken families, broken people, sick and frustrating institutions, days in legion with the most sick and destructive individuals, and the worse habits man can conjure up.

Vowed religious life?  Full of self-deception – an apostasy without the infliction of torture.  God denied without a fight, appearance being so much easier – and coarse disregard for others and the Divine a ready course for the weak – the sacred message thus thrown into the fires to dismiss the challenge of it, and the peace and salvation it offers.

The courts?  Some of the same thing.  Truth can suffer.  Compliance can win out over the rigor that truth demands.  Appearance is always easier than reality.

Advertising?  Politics?  Same thing.

Truth is few seek the strength that truth demands, so a lifetime of pretending comes to form – beginning with willing self-deception and fortified by a life of lies, one built on another ad infinitum.

Climate change?  Self-deception. Policy promises?  Self-deception. Socialism? Self-deception.  Marxism?  Same thing.

Aside from being demanding, living truth is a journey largely taken alone – with a follow traveler met here and there, and what a bond they bring.

Better to be known by a few who live Truth than worshiped by a crowd of Self-Deceivers.  The former has value, the latter toxicity only; the former eternal life, the latter everlasting damnation. Your choice.

Here is the truth  – –  actual heroism receives no ovation …

David Foster Wallace, in The Pale King

Like I said: Your Choice.

Shalom.

There’s nothing more intimate in life than simply being understood.  And understanding someone else.

Brad Metzger, in The Inner Circle

+ + +

Humans are social beings.  We need each other in order to be human.  Likewise, we need intimate contact with one another.  Language is the way we make that human contact, achieve intimacy.

Yes, we speak and listen and in the process of linguistic interaction intimacy is realized.  To understand another and be understood is an intimate transaction.

Language and intimacy go hand in hand.

Humans have the most evolved and elaborate linguistic capacity of all of God’s creatures.  We possess the gift of language so we might know intimacy, know one another and ourselves.

As Patrick Rothfuss says in The Name of the Wind –

Words can light the fires in the minds of men.  Words can bring tears from the hardest hearts.

Yes, there is power – emotional and social magic – in language.  Words do touch the heart of both speaker and one who is spoken to, and those who listen.

Language creates intimacy, brings us together, conveys our identity to the heart and mind of another and allows them the same privilege.

However, we seem today to be not as facile with language, speaking, and listening as we once were. This seems more so the case with men and women born in the last four decades, even those with excellent educations.

I often hear from parents who tell of their adult children who do not respond to them.  Of emails sent and not answered.  Of cell phone messages that go unheeded.  Notes written without response.

I hear as well from siblings who speak of encountering the same problem among their sisters and brothers.  Where there could be contact, there is none.

These parents and siblings report of their sadness in being treated with a somewhat cruel silence and they ask me why this is.

My reply is very simple: I tell them that when another who might love us, with whom we might reasonably expect some human contact does not respond it deprives us of our identity and of intimacy and that this is a loss at the deepest level of our existence – that it is the price of solitary confinement without the trial, the sentence and the cell, that it says to us that which no human can invite or endure: you are alone, abandoned and there is nothing you can do about it.

Truth is there is great and serious injury in the silence we encounter where once there was warmth and intimacy.  Indeed, we have become a culture of this hurtful silence, this drastic loss of intimacy.

Neither people nor a culture can long exist without intimate contact.  Intimacy holds us together as one, in family and as community.

When language fades, intimacy does too. Then, the human goes – a victim of cold silence.  Lost language means lost hearts, and deadened souls.

Think about it.

Shalom.

My Apologies – Late Post Due to Computer Cable Issue

What compels us to create a substitute from within ourselves is not an external lack, but our inability to include anything outside ourselves in our love.

Carl Jung, M.D.

+ + +

Intimacy is an interpersonal transaction, a state of being of emotional closeness where each person enters the space of another without causing discomfort.

In intimacy we experience close, familiar, loving personal relationship built on deep, personal knowledge, understanding and acceptance of one another.

Intimacy demands we examine who we are, come to know who we are (the pluses and the minuses), share ourselves openly and candidly with one who has done the same thing.

In a culture that does not encourage self-examination and reflection many have little of themselves to share.  This is made all the more the case when culture stresses appearance over substance.

An image culture such as we have makes intimacy harder to find and experience.  Likewise a culture of radical individualism does intimacy and its residents no “favors” as to intimacy.  In such a culture, sexual conduct displaces intimacy – the physical displaces the reception of self and other.

In truth there is less intimacy in mass secular culture than once existed in a less secularized, more diffused culture where localized experience in smaller communities was a common circumstance.

Sadly in families we find parents who do not know themselves and are unable to share themselves with their children.  The product of this is often, adult children who cannot share themselves easily and, hence, do not come to know the experience of intimacy.

A hyper-political, mass communication, affluent, exclusionary secular culture makes intimacy all the more difficult to find and experience.

Without intimacy, life is quite hard to live – quite hard.

Shalom.

… the important thing about Christ was not his exterior appearance but his inner character.  So too, the important thing about events is not how they happened but what they mean.

Alan Watts, in Behold the Spirit

+ + +

In the Middle Ages men and women had space for mythology, and symbol was important to them – they derived meaning from symbol, they had contact with spiritual reality.

To many, the Catholic Mass was the center of their spiritual existence – they flourished in the mystery of the Mass, and the symbols enlivened them, spoke to their depth of understanding and furnished wisdom and stability.

For those in the Middle Ages life housed the incarnational mystery; they lived a mystical reality.

Alas, that is not our condition today and we suffer as a consequence.

There is a cost in losing the Catholic mythos and mystical theology.  We are a blander people for this.  We are shallow where we once had depth.  We understand less.

You see this manifest in many ways: we elevate sexual conduct above a loving experience – such a great loss to the human being, human experience and human existence.  Likewise, few are wise and a lack of wisdom means failed leadership – public foolishness, the reign of arrogant stupidity wrapped in an elite university education and professional training.

Yes, we encounter fewer fully developed people – with social savvy and emotional range, fewer selfless people, fewer people with the confidence to serve, be as a pure servant with the capacity to live beyond material existence.

We are, as well, a lonelier people, a people far less secure and congenial.

We are less well-contacted with others, engaged in intimate transactions, lasting friendships and healthy families.

Reason, rationalism, material existence and humanism separated us from the larger picture, the wider and deeper experience of being a human being. Meaning has been if not lost at least misplaced – and we face this reality: ex nihilo nihil fit – one cannot find meaning out of meaninglessness.  Yes, crisis follows and it has.

All moments provide opportunity; and, the circumstances of the present moment provide us with a clear call to return to the mystery, to live at a greater depth, to immerse ourselves in the symbols that speak to us of God and the fullness of the human person.

Alas, to turn a deft ear to all the secular nonsense.

Shalom.

Welcome Message

Categories

Log In

%d bloggers like this: